Cancellation of removal is an immigration tool available to immigrants who have been placed in removal proceedings. That is, to be deported or removed from the United States of America because of an act that Immigration deems a deportable or inadmissible offense. Offenses ranging from unlawful acquisition of a Green Card to an aggravated felony can land you in removal proceedings. This can have serious consequences for the individual’s future chances of remaining or returning to the United States. Most of the time, through this waiver, people in removal proceedings will be able to stay in the United States while applying for citizenship.
To be eligible for a Legal Permanent Resident Cancellation of Removal, you must hold a Green Card for at least the past five years. You must have been in the United States for seven years prior to the act that deems you deportable, and that act may not be an aggravated felony conviction. If you acquired a visitor’s visa seven years ago and had a Green Card for the past five years, you are most likely eligible. Again, you are not eligible for any waivers if you were convicted of an aggravated felony.
Your ability to ever become a lawful permanent resident is also affected if you are not one currently. If you have been in the United States, undocumented, for a long period of time and have been placed in removal proceedings, you may be eligible for a Non-LPR Cancellation of Removal and a Green Card, but the process is stricter and more complicated.
- Continuous physical presence for at least ten years;
- Evidence of extreme hardship to a LPR “qualifying relative”, if you left or they left with you;
- Demonstration of good moral character; and
- No history of an aggravated felony and certain other crimes.
The immigration judge has a lot of discretion in these cases. Being honest and sincere will be a major part of the process. You must convince the judge that you deserve to stay in the United States, even though you have an offense that they deem deportable or inadmissible. Immigration judges are only allowed to approve four thousand applications per year and they fill up quickly.
A major difference between an LPR cancellation and a Non-LPR cancellation is that legal citizens do not have to show extreme hardship to a “qualifying relative” if you left or they had to leave with you. For a legal permanent resident, the process is simply a few requirements. In both cases, if you are convicted of an aggravated felony, you are not going to be eligible for a cancellation of removal. For an initial consultation about your most promising legal options, contact us at Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C.